Earlier this week I spent a few days in Barbados as a guest of Global Directories where, along with Randy Orth & Vince Graziano of EM4B, we ran a local online marketing seminar for about 200 Barbadian businesses. As I went through my talk about how to get ranked for searches like “Barbados car rental” it occurred to me that emerging markets like Barbados are really interesting opportunities SEO-wise. It’s basically still 2005 down there:
1. Many SMBs still don’t have websites and those that have them have pretty bad ones (ok maybe it’s like 2011 in that respect)
2. There is still confusion between SEO and SEM (ok still 2011)
3. Those that are doing SEO are using an offshore – and you can see their shores from pretty much everywhere – agency to do SEO and from the sounds of it are basically sending checks and not getting a lot of accountability in return. (damn, 2011 again)
4. For most local queries in Google, Google Places results do not show up (2005 at last!)
You may recall that a few months ago I discovered that Google misplaced Jamaica and that Google Places did not appear in a number of countries. In these cases, it is likely that Google does not have a reliable set of base data such as you can get from InfoGroup or Localeze and so they just let the organic Web results show up. And at least in Barbados, it does not appear that a lot of businesses are investing much in SEO. There are few sites creating original content and few doing what I would consider quality linkbuilding. Probably not many doing low-quality linkbuilding for that matter.
What this means is that there is a huge opportunity (in Barbadian dollars of course) for high-quality SEO practitioners to participate in this market, and likely every other emerging market like Barbados. While it sometimes feels like everybody and his brother in the US does SEO, it was great to see that there still are huge ground-floor opportunities like this one.
If anyone wants to get into a Caribbean SEO and hot sauce venture, let me know. It will be a total dooflicky fuh-true spar.